3S4< LIFE OF
Leipzic. This enabled Humboldt to correct his trans-
lation by the entirely corrected and revised text, and
he acknowledges that without this assistance he should
not have ventured to submit the work., the choruses
especially, to the public.
Thus this work, commenced in 1796, was at last
given to the world. It is considered a masterpiece to
this day ; and the most perfect specimen of a transla-
tion from jEschylus. A. W. Schlegel, the great
master in the art of translation, acknowledged Hum-
boldt as an equal and competent critic of his works,
* especially because he had fulfilled the difficult task in
the art of characteristic imitation of ^Eschylus.
This translation was a great boon to all friends of
classic poetry. Goethe writes of it:—"' Agamemnon/
translated by Humboldt, has just reached me, and
afforded me the easy enjoyment of a piece I had
always extravagantly admired/''
During his stay in Frankfurt, the intelligence
reached Humboldt that Count Goltz was to retain the
post of FreDch ambassador., and that he would receive
another appointment. The French minister, the
Duke de Richelieu, a much over-rated man, found
Goltz more convenient than Humboldt, and had
intrigued with Hardenberg to get rid of the latter.
The ostensible reason was the share Humboldt had
taken in the humiliating peace, and Richelieu asserted
that it would wound the French national feeling to
see him as ambassador m Paris.
But the truth was that the Duke feared the pre-
sence of so important a man. Hardenberg submitted,
and offered the London embassy to Humboldt, who
was surprised at Hardenberg^ submission and Riche-
lieu's demands* The hope of living half for the state
and half for study, united with his family, in a climate
which would suit his wife's health was too tempting
easily to be given up, although in some respects he
preferred the London posfe. It would not have been
agreeable to seem responsible for the consequences of
the restoration amid such a miserable state of affairs.